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Winter is Coming. Need Suggestions Please.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by RAEN36, Oct 18, 2015.

  1. RAEN36

    RAEN36 New Egg

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    May 20, 2015
    Richmond, Virginia
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    Hello! This is my coop. I know it's really little, but it was a gift. It was built to house two chickens, but the woman we bought our birds from recommended we get three. They're big ladies and they do get time to run around outside, and we plan on building a bigger coop next year when we move. For now though, this is what we have to work with. We live in central VA, so our winters aren't New England cold, but they do get cold. This week it's gotten down in the 30's and we had frost on the grass this morning. Should I do anything to prep my coop for colder weather? Add a door to close at night? With such a small enclosed space I worry about the balance between adequate ventilation and avoiding drafts. There is a window that can slide open, but again I worry about drafts. I do try to clean up the poop everyday, so I don't think there's much of an ammonia build up. Should I cover the outside with plastic? At what temperatures should I be concerned? These are our first chickens so any suggestions are much appreciated!
     
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Melrose Park Illinois
    Cover the top half with tarp or plastic so to keep direct wind out. With the bottom open it will allow air to flow. Don't close the coop door as this is your only ventilation. 2 or 3 chickens is not that much difference. Do the best you can with what you have. Ventilation is needed and desired. Direct wind and draft is what is needed to be avoided. You can see best what works on your coop. [​IMG]

    AND [​IMG]
     
  3. jimbob86

    jimbob86 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My thoughts:

    -Coop is not predator proof- a large coon would go right through that chickenwire.

    -You don't have enough ventilation as it is, and if you close up the coop with a door at night, you'll have even less.

    -Where are they roosting?
     
  4. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I KNOW ALL KIND OF PEEPS CAN MAKE ALL KIND OF SUGGESTIONS. THEY MAYBE DON'T READ YOUR POSTING CORRECTLY.

    Do the best with what you have... [​IMG]




    IN THE PERFECT WORLD WE WOULD ALL HAVE IDEAL COOPS AND A LARGE BANK ACCOUNT WITHOUT WORKING.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2015
  5. henless

    henless Chillin' With My Peeps

    There's a couple of things I would do first to help fortify your coop.

    If you can, change the chicken wire out for 1/2" hardware cloth. Use washers & screws to attach it to your coop. Your chicken wire won't keep out any predators, it just keeps chickens in. Next, I would lay a wire apron around the outside bottom of your coop to keep predators from digging into your coop. I used 2x3" welded wire, attached with screws/washers and held down with tent stakes. Go about 2 feet all around the parameter of your coop/run.

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    In what direction do you get your winter winds? Hopefully, you have the coop part of your setup with the back side facing the North. If so, you will already have a nice wind block in place. If not, I would try and turn it where the back of the coop is North. Then, I would get clear shower curtains, and screw them over the wire along one of the long walls. Either the one with the door, or the other side, which ever is facing the worst of your winter winds. This will give you a good wind block, but still allow light in for the chickens. I would leave you other long wire wall and the wire end open to allow plenty of fresh air.

    One more thing I would do, is attach a roost for the chickens up in the coop. From your pics, it looks like you don't have one. Put you in a 2x4 board, wide side up. It may be a little tight for all 3 to roost on it, but you can try it and see. With Winter coming, they will roost close together anyway. What size is your coop?

    Once you change your wire and add the apron, I would just leave your coop door open all the time to allow ventilation. You mentioned you had a window? I would put hardware cloth over it, so when you do open it, it will be predator proof. One thing about a window, you can open/close it as needed. Just make sure when it's open, it doesn't let air blow on the roosting chickens.

    Later, when you build your new coop, I would still keep this one. It would be great for babies, or if you needed to quarantine new or sick birds.
     
  6. jimbob86

    jimbob86 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Looking at your coop, it appears that it was meant to be light enough to move ..... kind of a wheel-less chicken tractor..... as small as it is, it would take less wire to put on the bottom of the run than to make the apron henless suggested ..... it would also prevent the birds from digging dust bath holes in the yard, too.

    Henless' suggestion for a roost was a good one.......

    As for ventilation, it's been suggested here that 1 square foot of opening per bird is the standard ...... hard to do with your coop, while avoiding drafts ....... looking at your coop, I was thinking..... if you have a miter saw, you could add a foot to the side of the coop closest to the run, and cover the space with hardware cloth ..... the roof pitch would be steepened..... material expense would very small, but there'd be a bit of skull sweat/math involved......

    "Do the best with what you have." ..... After giving this some thought, maybe making a "hoop coop" type shelter to park your mini-chicken tractor in over the winter might be the most economical idea......

    ....@BYC HiveMind, thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2015
  7. RAEN36

    RAEN36 New Egg

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    May 20, 2015
    Richmond, Virginia
    Thanks for the advice everyone! I will take it all into consideration. The coop does have a couple of small wheels to make it easy to move and wire underneath for protection from predators. It wasn't visible because of the angle of the picture, but there is a 2x4 in the enclosed part of the coop that they perch on at night. The window opening is covered with hardware cloth. I don't have much skill or knowledge of carpentry, so I probably won't be building onto this coop, but it is our plan to build a bigger, stronger coop next year and keep this one around for babies or whatever. This is our "see if we enjoy raising chickens" coop. So far so good (knock on wood).
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  8. jimbob86

    jimbob86 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 7, 2015
    Nebraska
    My Coop
    Adding a foot or so of height onto the front side (the side with the door), covering the new open space with hardware cloth and steepening the pitch of the roof would be simple to do, inexspensive and solve your ventilation issue. It'd also get your carpentry-fu feet wet for the construction of your larger coop next year.
     

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